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New Market Entry – Meat Aging Cabinets


Percival Scientific is a global leader in helping research professionals around the world create better science. Over their 125-year history, their mission has included innovation, customization and meeting customers' exact needs. They provide engineering, design and fabrication of environmental growth chambers for universities, colleges, government institutions and businesses both domestically and internationally. Locally operated in Perry, Iowa, Percival employs 70 people.

The Challenge

Percival Scientific is exploring the feasibility of adapting its current product line to include cabinets for aging and fermenting meat.  The idea was suggested to the company by Paul Gormley, a CIRAS project manager. 

"I'd been working with meat processors and noticed that one trend in the industry was aged meats," said Gormley. "I'd also done projects with Percival Scientific, and I knew their capabilities. That got me thinking about what could happen if we put those two things together." 

"As a company, we're always looking at expansion opportunities," said Joni Campidilli, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Percival.  "This idea appealed to us because we saw how we could potentially get into a new market space without making a lot of changes to our current product line."

We were so energized by what CJ and team brought to us. They covered how to bring a new product to market, how to launch it, and how to interview prospective customers. They gave us everything we need to decide what we want to do next.
— Joni Campidilli, VP of Sales and Marketing

MEP's Role

Gormley took the idea to Terry Houser at the Iowa State University Meats Lab, part of the CIRAS Manufacturing Extension Partnership, who agreed that both aging and fermenting - a process used in products like summer sausage - could be done in climate-controlled chambers like those made at Percival.

CJ Osborn, a CIRAS project manager, assisted the company by reviewing secondary research, and by working closely with a market research professional to create a survey on the demand for aging and fermenting cabinets and also completing interviews with prospective stakeholders like chefs and sausage makers.

Created October 21, 2022, Updated June 30, 2023